Country Music Hall of Fame

STEP INSIDE

Fiddlin John Carson: Champion Georgia Bow Man

September 26, 2014 - March 31, 2015

Fiddlin’ John Carson was a country music pioneer on radio and record. Born in northern Georgia around 1868, Carson played on Atlanta’s WSB in 1922, making him one of the earliest country acts on radio. A year later, the popular performer and fiddling contest champion made history with his first recordings.

At a June 1923 session in Atlanta, Carson recorded a nineteenth-century minstrel song, “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane,” and a traditional fiddle tune, “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow,” for OKeh Records A&R man Ralph Peer. After the initial pressing of five hundred discs quickly sold out, Peer released Carson’s record nationwide. It became an unexpected hit, spurring record companies to record more southern rural music.

Carson cut more than a hundred songs and fiddle tunes in the 1920s and ’30s. He often recorded and performed with his daughter Rosa Lee, billed as “Moonshine Kate.” Until his death, in 1949, Carson remained a well-known entertainer in his home state.